APLawrence.com -  Resources for Unix and Linux Systems, Bloggers and the self-employed

Shell script cannot test for the existence of files

Some material is very old and may be incorrect today

© July 2015 Anthony Lawrence

Anonymous asks:

My shell script needs to move certain files to another location. How do I test that the files exist?

The script you supplied looks like this:

if [ -f /home/sales/*.xml ]

 mv /home/sales/*.xml /tmp


Your problem is that "/home/sales/*.xml" can expand to more than one file. The "mv" doesn't care, but test ("[") can't handle that. That's why your script won't work.

You can do this instead:

for i in  /home/sales/*.xml
mv $i /tmp

If there is nothing in /home/sales to match *.xml, the loop won't move anything, but will error. To suppress the errror add "2>/dev/null after the "done".

An equivalent loop in Perl doesn't need the error redirection:

foreach  (@files) {
  # Nothing in this loop will execute if there are no foobahjj* files.
  print $_
  print "goo"

If you found something useful today, please consider a small donation.

Got something to add? Send me email.

(OLDER)    <- More Stuff -> (NEWER)    (NEWEST)   

Printer Friendly Version

-> Shell script cannot test for the existence of files

Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Photos: A Take Control Crash Course

Sierra: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of Automating Your Mac

iOS 10: A Take Control Crash Course

Take Control of High Sierra

More Articles by © Anthony Lawrence

Printer Friendly Version

Have you tried Searching this site?

This is a Unix/Linux resource website. It contains technical articles about Unix, Linux and general computing related subjects, opinion, news, help files, how-to's, tutorials and more.

Contact us

Printer Friendly Version

Much to the surprise of the builders of the first digital computers, programs written for them usually did not work. (Rodney Brooks)

Linux posts

Troubleshooting posts

This post tagged:







Unix/Linux Consultants

Skills Tests

Unix/Linux Book Reviews

My Unix/Linux Troubleshooting Book

This site runs on Linode